MPs are launching a new inquiry into assisted dying in the U.K., which, will look at the experience of other countries which have reformed their domestic laws in regard to assisted suicide.
There is a concern that U.K. law as it stands may not reflect wider contemporary views on the legality of assisted dying.
Currently anyone caught assisting or encouraging another person to end their life risks receiving a prison sentence. The Guardian reports that there have been over 200 cases of assisted dying or assisted suicide referred to the Crown Prosecution Service by the police in the last 13 years. The number of successful prosecutions has however been minimal, with only four.
Health and Social Care Committee Chair Steve Brine MP said:
‘It’s an issue that has vexed parliamentarians who have sought a way through the many ethical, moral, practical and humane considerations involved.
What has changed in recent years is that there is now real-world evidence to look at. Some form of assisted dying or assisted suicide is legal in at least 27 jurisdictions worldwide.’
So it is time to review the actual impact of changes in the law in other countries in order to inform the debate in our own.’
The Health and Social Care Committee has stated that they are open to hearing and reviewing evidence from medical professionals, campaigners and members of the public regarding how assisted suicide affects them or those they know.
Evidence sessions are expected to begin early in 2023.